Thursday, February 10, 2011

A 1938 French Wallpaper Book and The Kings Speech

Colin Firth as King George VI. From The King's Speech

I recently saw The King's Speech and was fascinated with the wallpaper. In fact, some have called the wall in Lionel Logue's office a character all by itself. I agree. But, my favorite was the wallcoverings in the rest of his home and elsewhere. They reminded me of something I had seen before.

Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue in The King's Speech

Last year I purchased a French wallpaper sample book from a dealer of French decorative arts. I couldn't resist it-imagine my delight when I realized the front cover was dated 1938. The cover was a little worn, otherwise everything was intact. 
The art director for the movie could have used the patterns in the book as inspiration for the set design.
Take a look.

You can barely see the gold stamped "1938."

Following are some of the hundreds of patterns in this very heavy book.

Complex pattern


My favorite.

Reminds me of an art quilt.

This one looks like a linoleum pattern.

Another one perfect as a floor covering.

I think these flowers are particularily fabulous!

Soft and exquisite.


I call this one "I think my grandmother had this on her bedroom walls."

What a color combination. Elegant and cool!

On the wall this will read as a solid red.

Another iconic pattern

I am still trying to figure out if that is a helicopter at the top right.

Looks familiar-iconic French children's illustration.

Hare, dead or alive

Marie Antoinette?
It cannot be French without a toile.

Love the wallpaper inset into the picture frame molding.
Very Elsie De Wolfe.

The Chase. There is always a chasse!

The Price List

The End

If you are interested in purchasing this book, check out

Photography by Valerie Hutnan


  1. You are right. I 've had the same feeling when discovering the pattern.
    I want to check this.
    Great find.